JACUMBA, Calif. – A 4-year-old boy injured in a car crash in Mexico was lifted over a fence to Border Patrol agents who performed life-saving measures, authorities said.
The American boy was visiting relatives in Jacume, Mexico, a remote mountain village about 75 miles east of San Diego, when he was struck by a car Monday night, said Border Patrol spokesman Jerry Conlin. The boy was having trouble breathing and had blood and mucus in his mouth.
Border Patrol agents put a tube in the boy's nose to allow him to breathe, Conlin said Thursday. The boy, whose name was not released, was flown to a hospital and was in stable condition.
"The agents believe he would have had a very tough time making it had he not been tended to quickly," Conlin said.
The boy's 18-year-old cousin, also a U.S. citizen, was lifted over the fence to accompany the boy.
Border Patrol agents often treat injuries on U.S. soil, including many migrants who suffer extreme heat or cold after crossing the border illegally from Mexico. But it is rare for them to respond to injuries that occur in Mexico.
Border Patrol agents believed the boy might not have survived if he was taken to the nearest border crossing about an hour away, so they allowed him to be hoisted over an 8-foot fence made of steel landing mats that were used for the Vietnam War, Conlin said.
Jacumba, Calif., a hardscrabble hamlet of about 500 people built around a three-block main street, became a popular corridor for illegal crossings after a 1990s crackdown in border cities pushed migrants to remote areas.
Before the 9/11 attacks, residents could easily walk back and forth across the border to Jacume, a poor Mexican town of about the same size. Now they must drive about an hour west to Tecate.
A fence of closely spaced bollards about 18 feet high was erected a few years ago. The Border Patrol agents lifted the boy over an older, shorter fence that remains in some areas.